The large majority (70 per cent) of high-performing companies will manage their business processes using real-time predictive analytics or "extreme collaboration" by 2016, says analyst house Gartner.
Gartner said one of the more effective techniques for business process improvement is intelligent business operations (IBO), in which processes are "aware" of and can learn from a wide range of work interactions, their context and the situations around them.
Once a situation is sensed, said Gartner, analytics can be applied actively or on-demand to predict the outcomes of potential changes.
Gartner analyst Jim Sinur said: "The impact of integrating real-time analytics with business operations is immediately apparent to business people because it changes the way they do their jobs.
"The most dramatic change is the increased visibility in how the company is running and what is happening in its external environment. Individual contributors and managers have more situational awareness, so they are able to make better decisions faster."
As a result, said the analyst, organisations with real-time analytic and decision management capabilities perform better. Improved situational awareness leads to better and faster decision making and superior customer service, revenue growth, cost reduction and risk avoidance.
Gartner said that virtually every business operation has one or more areas where real-time analytic services or active analytics should be applied.
"It has been technically possible to implement real-time analytics in transactional and record-keeping operational applications for decades. However, few business processes or operational applications have actually used them until recently," said Sinur.
As the sources of business event data proliferate and business application management, complex event processing, rule management, visualisation, business process management (BPM), optimisation and other software tools improve, IBO is "rapidly becoming a more practical and popular solution", according to Gartner.
Sinur added: "Human or automated actions can be initiated for proper decision making to achieve the desired business outcomes. If the situation dictates, knowledge workers can collaborate in and around the process, case or instance to decide on and effect change."
He said many organisations are finding at least one critical process that has "appropriate leverage" for higher performance, with examples including intelligent fleet management and intelligent prescription management processes.
The demand for IBO will drive an increase in intelligent technologies and the methods that surround active intelligence. This includes various combinations of event, business rules, analytics, social collaboration, dynamic processes and visualisation software, packaged to support various types of problems.
Gartner will be discussing IBO in more detail at its Business Process Management Summit 2013 in London on 13-14 March.